I read online a few weeks ago that Suze Rotolo had died about a month ago, age 67. Of course, I recognized her famous photo on the 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' album, and learned that she has written a memoir called 'A Freewheelin' Time.' I picked it up at the library, and soon bought my own copy.
What a trip down Memory Lane! Not just the folk-music scene stuff - yes, that was somewhat meaningful to me, since I was an afficianado of the genre at the time, in the early sixties, before it had become 'popular' among my peers. No! What I found fascinating was just the story of her life - THAT was what I could really relate to. Her socialist-oriented parents (a polite way of saying 'communist'), her humble working-class origins (in Queens), the fact that she initially took the subway to Greenwich Village to 'connect,' her problems at school (just like mine!), her life in the old 'bohemian' style, her work creating sets in off (and off-off)-Bwy theatre productions, her natural artistry which manifested in her clothing innovations and jewelry - I could relate to all of that, I suppose because I did all of that! - a few years after Suze, and in another city. Maybe it was the times, but it wasn't what was happening in our community - I kind of had to go out and find it. And yet, in another way, I guess I could say I was tuned in to my times. Anyway, her story sure brought back memories for me!
Also, I shared her experience of being emotionally and sexually connected with a very unusual artist who initially seemed very much on his own, in need of a friend shall we say, but soon became 'attractive' to 'everyone' and who was intimately tied up with notoriety and 'fame' - ye gods, spare us that albatross - and who desired a very different lifestyle from what suited me. We both had the courage to walk away from what wasn't working for us, to find our own lives, so I could relate to much of what she wrote about that too.
I've taken a look at some of her more recent book-art at Medialia Gallery - I think Suze Rotolo is my new patron saint!